December 11, 2018
STATEMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES MISSION ON UGANDA REFUGEE RESPONSE
UNHCR and the Government of Uganda have provided life-saving support to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence and persecution in recent years. The United States is grateful for these extraordinary humanitarian actions. We have reviewed the findings from the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) audit of UNHCR Uganda’s operations from July 2016 through December 2017. As the largest donor to UNHCR, we demand transparency and accountability from those receiving funds on the part of our taxpayers. The audit identified numerous incidents of mismanagement that raised the possibility that funds were misused or not properly allocated. We take these reports and their recommendations seriously and expect UNHCR to do so as well.
We have also followed closely allegations of fraud and misconduct on the part of individuals within the Government of Uganda. It is crucial that the Government of Uganda delivers on its own commitments to complete all of its investigations into corruption and misconduct by government personnel and brings those suspected of wrongdoing to face responsibility in court.
In order to address the concerns about the integrity of the refugee response, the Government of Uganda, donors, and UN agencies put in place in 2018 a Joint Plan of Action (JPA) on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Uganda’s Refugee Response, which aims to reduce risks of fraud and malfeasance. Many of the OIOS audit recommendations are currently being addressed through the JPA, on which we remain an interested and engaged party. We note the many remedial actions undertaken by UNHCR, the Office of the Prime Minister, and partners, including the completion of the refugee verification exercise on October 24, and look forward to the timely and exhaustive completion of ongoing investigations and the remaining actions under the JPA.